My new friend Diana is one of those people who quietly go about their business, doing great things in the world with few people noticing. Seeing a need in her community to offer accommodation to cats in unfortunate circumstances, she started a rescue and shelter for cats over 25 years ago.
Diana has made that her life’s mission ever since. She also created a low cost spay-neuter clinic to encourage her community to reduce the overpopulation of pets as a part of the Stop The Overpopulation of Pets Inc (STOP). organization.
I would have never noticed her good works myself if I had not seen a Facebook post from a Cleveland news channel reporting: ALERT: Crews are attempting to rescue 50 cats caught in a blaze at a Mansfield animal shelter.
Being connected to numerous animal rescue advocates through social media, I see posts like this from time to time. Usually they are connected to major disasters in far off places. This one, however, was isolated and not part of a bigger event. And it was close. Mansfield is about 70 miles from my home in Canton.
My first thought was that my favorite rescue organization, Peace for Pets, could offer live traps to assist with catching the missing cats. I made a call. That is when I first met Diana.
Diana told me that they did not need traps. But they did need help with raising funds for the veterinary care of the cats that survived. She was beside herself, as the animals that she had been carefully tending as they recovered from previous injury and hardship were now suffering from smoke inhalation.
Cats are cats, I told myself. Regardless of whether they are in my hometown or elsewhere, cats in such a crisis need more than a local community can offer. I checked the organization out to make sure it was legitimate (it was). I had skills and connections that I wanted to offer. Diana gladly accepted my offer to develop an online fund raising campaign to help her out.
As of this writing, people from all over the world have already contributed $2240.00 to the Cat Shelter Fire Disaster Recovery Fund for Stop The Overpopulation of Pets Inc (STOP). This is nothing short of amazing! Much more is still needed, however, to get the cats treatment and to help the shelter obtain items to manage their ongoing care.
In my first and subsequent conversations with Diana, I have repeated these words to her, “You are not alone.” I know this to be true, because I know people all over the world who do great works for animals, and I know that they care about others doing the same work in distant places. I also know that it can feel as though you are alone, because the day in day out job of caring for animals that have been cast off by society is rigorous.
But Diana is not, and YOU are not, alone, if you rescue animals.
Please let Diana know this by considering a small (or large) donation to the recovery fund. And let the animal advocates close to you know that you care too.
Thank you Diana, and everyone else who takes care of animals for no acclaim, each and every day. And thank you to those who help to support their great work.
Fanny, the cat pictured above, is one of the cats who survived the fire. She is like many of the cats tended by STOP. Prior to the fire, she was rescued after losing a leg to a fan belt in a car. She recovered well from the surgery, and was ready for adoption. We hope that she and her fellow feline friends recover well from the present tragedy and will soon be ready to go to her forever home. You can see Fanny’s Petfinder page here. You can read more about the fire from the Mansfield News Journal here.
Life is an Adventure!